In September, the United States Air Force Vandenberg 1959 began the deployment of the SM-65D Atlas-D first ICBM missile squadron. The 117,9 t launch mass was capable of delivering a WNNXX 49 thermonuclear warhead with a power range over 1,45 9 km. Although the Atlas exceeded the first Soviet P-000 ICBM in a number of parameters, as well as in the G-7, it required a long pre-launch preparation and filling with liquid oxygen to start. In addition, the first American ICBMs at the launch position were stored in a horizontal position and were very poorly protected in engineering terms. Although more than one hundred Atlas missiles were at the peak of their deployment in combat duty, their resistance to a sudden disarming nuclear strike was estimated to be low. After a massive deployment in the US territory of the HGM-7 Titan and LGM-25 Minuteman ICBMs deployed in high-security mine launchers, the issue of combat stability was resolved. However, as the US nuclear arms race was gaining momentum, additional trumps were needed. In 30, US President D. Eisenhower approved a plan to create a naval strategic nuclear missile system. At the same time, at the first stage, the deployment of ballistic missiles was envisaged both on submarines and on missile cruisers.
In the 50s, American chemists were able to create effective formulations of solid jet fuel, suitable for use in missiles for various purposes. In addition to anti-aircraft and anti-submarine missiles in the United States from the very beginning, they actively worked on solid-fuel ballistic missiles. It is known that rockets with a jet engine running on solid fuel, compared to a liquid engine, which uses two components stored separately from each other: liquid fuel and an oxidizing agent, are much simpler and safer to operate. The leakage of liquid rocket fuel and oxidizer is very likely to lead to an emergency: fire, explosion or poisoning of personnel. U.S. Navy experts recommended abandoning the option of creating a ballistic missile for submarines (SLBMs) based on the medium-range liquid rocket PGM-19 Jupiter, since the presence of missiles with explosive volatile components of fuel and oxidizer on the boat was considered an excessive risk. In this regard, the leadership of the US Navy applied to the Department of Defense for permission to independently order the development of a rocket for fleet.
Almost simultaneously with the design of the solid-fuel ICBM LGM-30 Minuteman, Lockheed Corporation began work on a medium-range ballistic missile designed for deployment in nuclear submarines. The contract to create a solid-fuel propulsion system was concluded with the company Aerojet-General. Taking into account the increased loads at the "mortar" start from a submerged position, the rocket body was made of heat-resistant stainless steel. The first stage engine working on a mixture of polyurethane with the addition of aluminum powder (fuel) and ammonium perchlorate (oxidizer) developed 45 T traction. The second stage engine developed more 4 T traction and was filled with a mixture of polyurethane with a polybutadiene, acrylic acid and oxidant copolymer. Engine running time of the 1 th stage - 54 with, 2 th stage - 70 with. The engine of the second stage had a cut-off thrust device, due to this it was possible to adjust the launch range. The rocket was controlled by ring baffles mounted on each of the nozzles and articulated with hydraulic actuators. A rocket of length 8,83 m and a diameter of 1,37 m, in the curb state weighed about 13 t.
Prototype SLBM UGM-27A Polaris A-1 on the test site
Flight tests of the prototype of the first American SLBM began in September 1958 of the year on the launch pad of the Eastern Missile Range located at Cape Canaveral. At first, the tests were unsuccessful, and it took five launches for the rocket to fly normally. Only 20 on April 1959, the flight task was completed in full.
The first carrier of the UGM-27A Polaris A-1 missiles were nuclear submarines of special construction of the “George Washington” type. The head boat in the series USS George Washington (SSBN-598) was transferred to the fleet in December 1959. Total US Navy from 30 December 1959 year to March 8 1961 year received five nuclear missile boats of this type. The overall layout of nuclear-powered submarine missile carriers of the George Washington type with vertical mines placed behind the wheelhouse turned out to be very successful and has become a classic for strategic boats.
Nuclear submarine with ballistic missiles USS George Washington (SSBN-598)
The rapid construction of the first American nuclear-powered submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBNs) was facilitated by the fact that George Washington was created on the basis of the Skipjack-type nuclear-powered torpedo boat project. This approach has reduced the time to build a series of SSBNs and saved significant financial resources. The main difference from Skipdzhek was the 40-meter rocket compartment inserted into the hull after the wheelhouse, in which 16 rocket launchers were placed. The “George Washington” SSBN had an underwater displacement of slightly more than 6700 tons, the hull length was 116,3 m, and the width was 9,9 m. The maximum underwater travel speed was 25 nodes. Immersion depth - 220 m.
Launch of the UGM-27A Polaris A-1 SLBM launched from the SSBN submarine
20 July 1960 of the year from the board of the George Washington SSBN, which was at that time in a submerged position, near Cape Canaveral, for the first time in the world, a ballistic missile was successfully launched. Less than two hours later, the second rocket was successfully launched. The rockets could be launched from a depth of no more than 25 m, at a speed of no more than five knots. Prelaunch preparation for the launch of the first rocket lasted approximately 15 minutes after receiving the corresponding order. The interval between rocket launches was 60-80. The preparation of the missiles for firing and the control of their technical condition were provided by the automated control system Mk.80. During the launch, the rocket was ejected from the launch shaft with compressed air at a speed of up to 50 m / s, to a height of about 10 m, after which the main engine of the first stage was turned on.
Autonomous inertial control equipment Mk I weighing about 90 kg ensured the conclusion of the Polaris to the desired trajectory, stabilization of the rocket in flight and the start of the second-stage engine. A fully autonomous inertial guidance system with a launch range of 2200 km provided a probable circular deviation (CVL) of 1800 m.However, for several reasons, the first series of missiles were not recommended for targets located at a distance of more than 1800 km. Which, when striking deep in Soviet territory, forced rocket-propelled submarines to enter the area of operation of the anti-submarine forces of the Soviet Navy.
As a combat load, the rocket carried the monoblock thermonuclear warhead W47-Y1 weighing 330 kg and power 600 кт, which, taking into account the QUO, made it effective against large area targets. Given the relatively short range of the Polaris A-1 missiles, combat patrols of boats equipped with these missiles occurred mainly in the Mediterranean and in the North Atlantic. To reduce the time required for American SSBNs to arrive at the position area and optimize operating costs, an agreement was signed with the British government in 1962 to create a forward base in the Holy Loch Bay of the Irish Sea Firth of Clyde Bay. In response, the Americans pledged to provide the Polaris missiles, designed to arm British submarines of the Resolution type.
Despite some drawbacks of the “George Washington” type boat, the American nuclear missile potential was seriously strengthened. American SSBNs looked much more advantageous than the first Soviet nuclear-powered strategic-class submarine cruisers (SSBN) of the 658 Ave., which initially housed three P-13 liquid-propellant ballistic missiles with a launch range of 600 km. Moreover, missiles of this type could only be launched on the surface, which significantly reduced the chances of accomplishing a combat mission. To surpass the American “George Washington” SSBNs with the Polaris A-1 SLBM, only the SSBN of the 667 Ave. with the 16 SLBM P-27 was possible. The main Soviet boat of this type entered service in the 1967 year. The P-27 rocket was equipped with a 1 MT monoblock thermonuclear warhead and had a launch range of up to 2500 km with the KVO 1,6-2 km. However, unlike the American solid-fuel SLBM "Polaris", the Soviet-made rocket engine operated on liquid toxic fuel and a caustic oxidizer that ignites combustible substances. In this regard, in the course of operation, emergency situations with casualties were not uncommon, and one boat of 667AU av. Was killed by a rocket blast.
Although the UGM-27A Polaris A-1 SLBM at the time of its appearance was superior to the Soviet counterparts, this missile did not fully satisfy the American admirals. Already in the 1958 year, simultaneously with the beginning of flight tests of the first serial modification, the development of the UGM-27B Polaris A-2 variant began. The main emphasis in the creation of this rocket was made on increasing the launch range and the drop weight, while maintaining maximum continuity with the Polaris A-1, which made it possible to significantly reduce technical risk and costs. The most radical innovation applied in the new modification of Polaris was the use of fiberglass reinforced with composite resin to create the body of engines of the second stage. This, in turn, made the second stage easier. The resulting mass reserve made it possible to place on board the rocket a larger supply of solid fuel, which in turn increased the launch range to 2800 km. In addition, the UGM-27B Polaris A-2 became the first American SSBN to use missile defense weapons: six false warheads and dipole reflectors — used on a portion of the trajectory outside the atmosphere and on the downstream branch to the atmospheric section, as well as jammers, included on the initial part of the atmospheric section. Also, to counteract the means of missile defense after the separation of the warhead, a second stage withdrawal system was used to the side. This made it possible to avoid targeting anti-missile missiles at the second-stage propulsion system, which has significant ESR.
When launching, the rocket was ejected from the mine not with compressed air, as in the case of the Polaris A-1, but with a steam-gas mixture produced by an individual gas generator for each rocket. This simplified the missile launch system and made it possible to increase the launch depth to 30 m. Although the main launch mode was to start from an underwater position, the possibility of launching from a floating boat was experimentally confirmed.
Submarine Launch UGM-27B Polaris A-2
The missile of length 9,45 m according to various sources had a starting weight from 13600 to 14700 kg. She carried a thermonuclear warhead W47-Y2 with power up to 1,2 Mt. According to the information published by Lockheed Martin, the Polaris A-2 CSP was 900 m, according to other data, the accuracy of the hit was at the level of Polaris A-1.
USS Ethan Allen Nuclear Ballistic Submarine (SSBN-608)
Polaris A-2 missiles were equipped with Etienne Allen-type submarines, each of the five SSBNs of this project had 16 mines with SLBMs. Unlike the “George Washington” type submarines, the new project submarines were developed as an independent design and were not an alteration of nuclear torpedo submarines. SSBN "Etienne Allen" has become the largest, which has improved the conditions of habitability of the crew. Its length is 124 m, width is 10,1 m, underwater displacement is 8010 t. Maximum submerged speed is 24 node. The working depth of the dive is up to 250 m. The maximum achieved on the test is 396 m. A significant increase in the depth of the dive, achieved compared to the George Washington SSBN, was due to the use of a new high-yield strength steel casing to build a solid hull. For the first time in the United States on nuclear submarines of the Etienne Allen type, measures were taken to reduce the noise of the power plant.
The USS Ethan Allen head missile submarine (SSBN-608) entered into service on November 22 on the 1960 of the year - that is, less than a year after the USS George Washington SSBN (SSBN-598) received it. Thus, at the end of the 50 and the beginning of the 60 in the United States, two underwater strategic missile-carriers were being built at once, which demonstrates how extensively preparations were made for a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
In the period from the second half of the 1962 to the summer of the 1963, all the Eten Allen SSBNs became part of the US Navy's 14 submarine squadron. They conducted combat patrols mainly in the Mediterranean. From here it was possible to deliver nuclear strikes on the cities of the European part and the southern regions of the USSR. Also, the UGM-27B Polaris A-2 SLBMs were equipped with the first Lafayette-type 8 boats.
Evolutionary version of the development of boats of the type "Ethen Allen" were SSBN type "Lafayette". They managed to significantly reduce the acoustic visibility, as well as improve stability and control during the implementation of missile launches.
Loading SLBMs on the Lafayette-type SSBN
The submarine USS Lafayette (SSBN-616) officially entered into service on 23 on April 1963. Its length was almost 130 m, hull width - 10,6 m, underwater displacement - 8250 t. Maximum underwater travel speed - 25 nodes, dive depth - 400 m.
Nuclear submarine with ballistic missiles USS Lafayette (SSBN-616)
The difference of the boats of this project from the Eten Allen submarine was a more elaborate design and a significant modernization potential, which later allowed the Lafayette-type SSBN to be equipped with more advanced ballistic missiles. However, despite the relatively high flight and operational characteristics with the combat readiness of the UGM-27A Polaris A-1 and UGM-27B Polaris A-2 missiles, serious problems arose. After several years of operation, it turned out that due to the design flaws of the thermo-nuclear warheads W47-Y1 and W47-Y2 there is a high probability of their failure. In 60, there was a moment when we had to remove and send for revision up to 70% of the warheads deployed on the Polaris A-1 / 2 missiles, which of course seriously reduced the strike potential of the naval component of the American strategic nuclear forces (SNF). .
To confirm the combat characteristics of the Polaris SLBMs and the operational reliability of the 6 thermonuclear warheads of May 1962, as part of Operation Frigate, which in turn was part of the Dominic nuclear test series, on board the Etienne Allen submarine part of the Pacific Ocean, the UGM-27B Polaris A-2 ballistic missile was launched. The missile with combat equipment, flying more than 1890 km, exploded at an altitude of 3400 m, a few dozen kilometers from the Pacific atoll Johnson, which had a control and measuring complex with radar and optical means. The power of the explosion amounted to 600 kt.
A snapshot of the cloud formed after the Fregat explosion, taken through a periscope from the side of a diesel-electric submarine USS Carbonero (SS-337)
In addition to the equipment located on the atoll, American submariners from Medregal (SS-480) and USS Carbonero (SS-337) submarines, who were underwater at a distance of more than 30 km from the epicenter, observed periscope tests.
Since the Polaris A-1 / A-2 rockets and their warheads were created in a great hurry, there were a number of technical flaws in their design. In addition, the developers did not have the opportunity to quickly implement the latest technical achievements in full. As a result, the Polaris UGM-27C Polaris A-3 has become the most advanced missile in the Polaris family of ballistic missiles. Initially, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense opposed the creation of this modification, but due to the design features of the missile mines, George Washington and Etienne Alain submarines were unsuitable for equipping with promising UGM-73A Poseidon-C3 missiles.
In the third serial modification of Polaris, analyzing the experience of operating missiles during combat patrols and applying a number of fundamental technological improvements: in electronics, materials science, engine building and solid fuel chemistry - it was possible not only to improve the reliability of the missile, but also significantly improve its combat performance. The new modification of the SSBN demonstrated on tests an increase in range, accuracy of fire and combat effectiveness. To modify the Polaris A-3, based on the research of the specialists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, General Electric and Hughes created a new inertial control system that had a smaller mass on 60% than the equipment of the SLBM Polaris A-2. At the same time, much attention was paid to increasing the resistance of electronics to ionizing radiation and the electromagnetic pulse.
The Polaris A-3 SLBM largely inherited the design features and layout of the Polaris A-2. The rocket was also a two-stage, but its body was made of fiberglass by winding fiberglass with epoxy sizing. The use of fuel with a new formulation and increased energy characteristics, as well as a reduction in the weight of the engine and on-board equipment of the rocket, resulted in the fact that, almost without changing the geometric dimensions compared to the previous model, it was possible to significantly increase the firing range while simultaneously increasing the drop weight.
With a length of 9,86 m and a diameter of 1,37, the rocket weighed 16200 kg. The maximum launch range was 4600 km, the CWE is 1000 m. The throw weight is 760 kg. The UGM-27C rocket for the first time in the world was equipped with a split head, of a dispersing type: three Mk.2 Mod 0 combat units, each of which had a WNNXX 58 fusion nuclear warhead. Thus, when striking an area target, the destructive effect of three 200 CT warheads was significantly greater than that of a single 200 CT. As you know, to increase the area of a nuclear explosion in 600 times, the power of the charge must be increased 2 times. And in the case of the use of scattering warheads, this was achieved due to the overlap of their affected area. In addition, it was possible to increase the likelihood of the destruction of such highly protected targets as mine launchers of ballistic missiles. In addition to the warheads, the rocket carried missile defense weapons: dipole reflectors and inflatable false targets.
UGM-27 Polaris A-3 SLBM prototype at the test site
Flight tests of the Polaris A-3 prototypes began in April 1963 at the sites of the Eastern Missile Range. Test launches from the SSBN lasted from May 1964 to April 1968. The considerable duration of the test phase was associated not only with the desire to maximally “bring to mind” a new rocket, but also with a large number of submarine rocket carriers equipped with the new SLBM. Thus, all UGM-27C missiles were re-equipped with all SSBNs of the type "George Washington", like "Etienne Allen" and 8 of boats like "Lafayette". One USS Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) submarine since its construction was armed with the Polaris A-3. In addition, the third modification of the Polaris were armed with British submarines of the “Resolution” type.
Underwater launch SLBM UGM-27С Polaris A-3
As part of the expansion of "nuclear deterrence" with missiles modification Polaris Mk.3 planned to equip the ships of the US Navy and NATO countries. All in all, American strategists wanted to deploy 200 missiles on surface carriers. In the period from 1959 to 1962, during the overhauls of old ships and during the construction of new ships on the American and European cruisers, 2-4 missile silos were installed. So, 4 silos for the Polaris Mk.3 received Italian pre-war cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi. In the autumn of 1962, the Polaris mass-dimensional models were launched from the cruiser, but the Italians never received combat missiles with thermonuclear warheads. After the "Caribbean Crisis", the Americans revised their views on the deployment of strategic nuclear weapons outside their territory and abandoned plans to deploy ballistic missiles on surface ships.
UGM-27A Polaris A-1 and UGM-27С Polaris A-3 Submarine Ballistic Missiles at the Museum Exposition
According to American data, the combat service of the SLBM Polaris A-3 in the US Navy lasted until October of the 1981 year. After that, the carrier boats of this missile complex were withdrawn from the fleet or converted into special-purpose torpedo or submarines. Although the launch of the atomic missile boats with the UGM-70 Poseidon C-73 SLBMs began in the early 3's, the UGM-27С Polaris A-3 rocket is a good example of evolutionary development with a significant improvement in combat performance.
In total, 1959 and 1968 were built by Lockheed Corporation for the 1153 Polaris missiles of all modifications. Including: “Polaris A-1” - 163 units, “Polaris A-2” - 346 units, “Polaris A-3” - 644 units. Deactivated missiles were used to develop US radar detection systems for SLBM launches, simulating Soviet P-21 and P-27 missiles. At the end of 60, at the beginning of 70, a network of radars designed to record missile launches from submarines was deployed on the US East and West Coast. Also, based on the Polaris A-3 SLBM, a STARS carrier rocket (eng. Strategic Target System - Strategic Target Rocket) with a third solid propellant stage ORBUS-1A, designed to test the satellite launch fixation system of ballistic missiles SBIRS (Eng. Space Based Infrared System - space-based infrared system).
The launch vehicle STARS 17 in November 2011 was also used in the flight tests of the planning hypersonic apparatus HGB (English Hypersonic Glide Body - Hypersonic Planning Body) in the framework of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (Advanced Hypersonic Weapon) program. The hypersonic gliding apparatus successfully separated from the third carrier stage and, moving in the upper atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean along a non-balancing planning trajectory, fell less than 30 minutes in the area of the aiming point located on the territory of the Reagan testing ground (Kwajalein atoll) in 3700 km from the launch site. According to unconfirmed information, during the flight, a speed of about 8 M was reached. The goal of the hypersonic weapon program is that conventional combat units can hit targets at a distance of 6 000 km via 30 — 35 minutes since launch, and the accuracy of hitting the target. must be no more than 10 meters. A number of experts believe that the defeat of the target with the help of AHW will be carried out as a result of the kinetic effect of the combat unit flying at high hypersonic speed.
To be continued ...